JFK Trust to mark 30 years afloat with major event in September

Michael Ryan, first chairperson of the JFK Trust with Walter O’Leary, current chairperson
Michael Ryan, first chairperson of the JFK Trust with Walter O’Leary, current chairperson
Members of the first board of the JFK Trust, Michael Ryan, Tom Clarkin, Terry Rogers, Ernest Levingstone, Jim Shea, Kieran O’Grady and Declan Quinn (representing his late father Paddy Quinn)

A major event is planned in New Ross this September to mark 30 years of the John F Kennedy (JFK) Trust, which was founded on July 21, 1980.

On Saturday, July 21, a small event took place on board the Dunbrody Famine Ship to mark the founding of the JFK Trust. The original signatories Michael Ryan (of Nationwide fame), Jim O Shea, Tom Clarkin, Ernest Levingstone, the late Paddy Quinn (who was represented by his son Declan Quinn), Dr Terry Rogers and Kieran O Grady were invited to join with the current board of management to celebrate the occasion. The current board was represented by newly elected Chairman Walter O’Leary, Willie Fitzharris, Frances Ryan, Jim Walsh and Colm Caulfield.

JFK Trust C.E.O. Sean Connick welcomed everyone on board and handed over to the chairman Walter O’Leary who welcomed the founding members and congratulated them on their vision and courage for setting up the JFK Trust.

‘You can be very proud of your legacy and what has been achieved,’ Mr Connick said.

Kieran O’Grady then spoke on behalf of the founding members saying that they had one simple objective and that was to try and stop the traffic that was passing through the town of New Ross. Mr Connick then informed the group that they had certainly achieved that objective with 70,000 visitors expected to visit Dunbrody this year. He said 51 people were on the weekly wage run with €800,000 in wages going back into the local economy, adding that the remainder of the turnover of the project is being spent with local business and tradespeople and service providers where possible.

On September 29, 2018, a major event is planned and all former employees and people who worked on the construction of the ship along with all form former directors will be invited to a gathering which will take place at the Dunbrody Famine Ship Experience to mark the 30 years of success and achievement.

Mr Connick said: ‘We would appeal to anyone who was part of the original construction team to make contact with us on our Facebook page Dunbrody Famine Ship or by calling our office on 051 421936. There will also be a series of events planned throughout the year to mark the special occasion.’

The 120ft long, 28ft wide vessel ship spent six weeks from early December to Tuesday last having vital repair and refurbishment work carried out in dry dock in the New Ross Boat Yard across the Barrow River. The ship also received a complete painting job. The Dunbrody will periodically have to be dry docked as she is no different from any other ship. ‘Even the biggest ships sailing the ocean will visit a dry dock every two to five years,’ Mr Connick said.

New Ross Standard